Alonzo Jamison, Kidney Transplant Recipient & Former Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Player, Received a Lifesaving Assist through Organ Donation
As a member of the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team that reached the 1991 NCAA tournament, Alonzo Jamison achieved a level of success that most athletes can only dream about. But his biggest victory came decades later, during a very difficult time in his life. Battling end-stage kidney disease caused by diabetes, Alonzo depended on dialysis to stay alive. Each night, for up to 11 hours at a time, he hooked himself up to the dialysis machine so it could perform the functions his failing kidneys no longer could. Eventually, doctors told Alonzo he needed a kidney transplant to survive, and time was running out.
“He’s like my twin brother. I don’t think he really understands what he has done for me. I have three daughters and two stepdaughters. I would like to see them grow up into people like Shekinah—people who care a lot about others.”
– Alonzo Jamison
Then, Alonzo received a lifesaving assist from a complete stranger. Shekinah Bailey of Wichita, Kansas – an Army veteran who knew Alonzo’s wife Colleen from work – heard about Alonzo’s situation via a Facebook video and made a heroic decision. After tests revealed Shekinah was a living kidney donor match for Alonzo, the two underwent successful donor and recipient transplant surgeries. Nearly two years later, Alonzo and Shekinah are leading full, healthy lives, forever connected by the gift of organ donation. Both men are actively working to raise awareness of living and deceased organ donation, and they encourage others to join the organ donor registry. Currently, nearly 100,000 people are waiting for kidney transplants, and approximately 20,000 more await other organ transplants.
“The biggest upside to organ donation is changing somebody’s life. There are very few things you can do that make such a big impact on someone’s life for such a small cost.”
– Shekinah Bailey
Alonzo played power forward for the Jayhawks (1989-1992). After leaving KU, he became a high school and college basketball coach, which he continued for more than five years before he had to stop working for several years to focus on his kidney treatment. Today, he works in sales for 360 Document Solutions, a Kansas-based document management and technology company. Alonzo and his wife, Colleen, live in Tecumseh. He has three adult daughters and two adult stepdaughters.
Shekinah spent eight years in the U.S. Army and has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for five years, where he assists in the development of rural telecommunications and distance learning/telemedicine projects. Shekinah grew up in Cheney, Kansas, and has extended family in Wichita area.
Watch Alonzo and Shekinah share their story in the video below:
Together with Midwest Transplant Network and all the Green Ribbon Champions, Alonzo Jamison invites you to join your state’s organ donor registry and encourage others to do the same. Learn more about the types of donation, including the option to be a living donor, and the incredibly positive emotional experiences for organ donor families and transplant recipients.
Join the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry today at ShareLifeMidwest.com.